Circulating insulin-like growth factor-I, total and free testosterone concentrations and prostate cancer risk in 200 000 men in UK Biobank

Eleanor L. Watts, Georgina K. Fensom, Karl Smith Byrne, Aurora Perez-Cornago, Naomi E. Allen, Anika Knuppel, Marc J. Gunter, Michael V. Holmes, Richard M. Martin, Neil Murphy, Konstantinos K. Tsilidis, Bu B. Yeap, Timothy J. Key, Ruth C. Travis

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32 Citations (Web of Science)


Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and testosterone have been implicated in prostate cancer aetiology. Using data from a large prospective full-cohort with standardised assays and repeat blood measurements, and genetic data from an international consortium, we investigated the associations of circulating IGF-I, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and total and calculated free testosterone concentrations with prostate cancer incidence and mortality. For prospective analyses, risk was estimated using multivariable-adjusted Cox regression in 199 698 male UK Biobank participants. Hazard ratios (HRs) were corrected for regression dilution bias using repeat hormone measurements from a subsample. Two-sample Mendelian randomisation (MR) analysis of IGF-I and risk used genetic instruments identified from UK Biobank men and genetic outcome data from the PRACTICAL consortium (79 148 cases and 61 106 controls). We used cis- and all (cis and trans) SNP MR approaches. A total of 5402 men were diagnosed with and 295 died from prostate cancer (mean follow-up 6.9 years). Higher circulating IGF-I was associated with elevated prostate cancer diagnosis (HR per 5 nmol/L increment = 1.09, 95% CI 1.05-1.12) and mortality (HR per 5 nmol/L increment = 1.15, 1.02-1.29). MR analyses also supported the role of IGF-I in prostate cancer diagnosis (cis-MR odds ratio per 5 nmol/L increment = 1.34, 1.07-1.68). In observational analyses, higher free testosterone was associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer (HR per 50 pmol/L increment = 1.10, 1.05-1.15). Higher SHBG was associated with a lower risk (HR per 10 nmol/L increment = 0.95, 0.94-0.97), neither was associated with prostate cancer mortality. Total testosterone was not associated with prostate cancer. These findings implicate IGF-I and free testosterone in prostate cancer development and/or progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2274-2288
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Early online date30 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


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